Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Time England Went into Unknown Territory

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

It's Time England Went into Unknown Territory

Article excerpt


ENGLAND would love to welcome back a few familiar old names when they finally announce their limited-overs squad this week. But, as it is, unveiling a clutch of new and barely recognisable faces may be the best way forward after the nightmare of Nottingham.

Even if the news on Andrew Flintoff is just about as good as everyone hopes - that a short rest will restore his left ankle to tiptop condition - there seems little sense in risking the inspirational all-rounder, even as a batsman, for a 48-hour trip to Belfast, followed by a Twenty20 thrash and five one-day internationals against Sri Lanka. And while the absence of acting captain Flintoff might tempt recovering skipper Michael Vaughan to hasten his latest return to the England fold, why not stick to Plan A and allow Andrew Strauss to take charge for the remainder of this month?

As for pacemen Simon Jones (knee) and Jimmy Anderson (back), plus spinners Ashley Giles (hip) and Ian Blackwell (shoulder), Sri Lanka will be long gone from this country by the time they are ready for consideration.

At least fast bowler Steve Harmison should be on board again following a twomonth battle with shin splints. But his recall will not be the main talking point for cricket fans this week if England's selectors show a bit of adventure.

Given that the Caribbean World Cup is only nine months away, opportunities to try something different are running out. The one-day picture has not been particularly rosy for several years. But, unlike at Test level, even one hot new addition to the team can make a real difference, as Kevin Pietersen has done his best to prove, and now - by accident, rather than design - England have a chance to look at several more over the next few weeks.

One player who could make an instant impact, with ball and bat, is neither a youngster nor a late developer.

At 32, Glen Chapple is playing his 15th season for Lancashire and he was selected for an England A tour to Australia 10 years ago. The hard-hitting pace bowler has come no nearer to representing his country at full senior level, however, than the time in 2003 when he was 12th man against South Africa at Trent Bridge. …

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